By Henry Stillwell
In spite of the overthrow of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Haddi, who claimed an end to the civil War in Yemen almost five months ago, civilian casualties have continued to escalate in the poorest nation in the Middle-East.
Doctors Without Borders has reported that 65 civilians have died in a Saudi led air strike targeting Houthi rebels on Saturday, including 17 children. UNICEF has reported that an average of eight children per day are being killed or maimed in Yemen today. The densely populated city of Taiz has been the target of the most recent air strikes that have killed dozens of civilians.
UNICEF reports that 398 children have been killed in air strikes since war erupted in March, and an additional 1.3 million have been displaced from their homes.
In addition to the alarming rate of civilian casualties, now an approximate 45 per cent of Yemeni citizens do not have reliable access to safe drinking water. UNICEF also reports that 10 million are in need of humanitarian Aid, vis-a-vis food, water, and vital medical supplies.
However the Saudi-led and US backed coalitions have not allowed the delivery of humanitarian aid, despite pleas from Iran, Yemeni civilians, and several international human rights groups.
Considering the horrifying conditions on the ground in Yemen, where has the Nobel Peace Prize winning President Barack Obama stood on the crisis in Yemen? Rather than facilitate peace negotiations, rather than demand an immediate ceasefire, or allow for the delivery of vital humanitarian aid, Obama has used the crisis to again point fingers at Iran.
In a recent letter to congress, Obama mentioned Yemen as an aside, vowing not to allow Iran to destabilize Yemen by sending aid and weapons to Houthi fighters; a claim many have made and few have proven.
However, it is not Obama alone who has failed to spare the civilians of the sovereign nation of Yemen from famine and war. The UN has been a passive player in the conflict from the beginning. Israel, and other US allies have sat in silence as well, rather than jeopardize good relations with the world’s greatest superpower.
At some point, the “don’t’ ask don’t tell” stance on this Humanitarian crisis must end, so that the children of Yemen can have access to food, water, and proper medical care, and ultimately the United States has to bear the torch.
The United States has backed the Saudi Led coalition from the beginning as Saudi dominance of the Arabian Peninsula facilitates an ideal situation for US oil interests. Yet at some point, human lives have to trump geo-politics.
The United States must allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid in Yemen, or else the people of Yemen will face continually worsening conditions.
NewsGram has covered the humanitarian crisis in Yemen extensively. For an in-depth analysis of the gravity of the crisis in Yemen, here is a link.